Pepsi Special promises to reduce fat absorption while satisfying a thirst for sparkling soda. Would Michael Bloomberg approve?
It sounds like a dieter's dream. Drink soda and lose weight. It's junk food with a healthy sheen and it's a real Pepsi product coming out in Japan.
Pepsi Special is special because of an added ingredient: dextrin, the same stuff found in Benefiber. It's a water-soluble fiber supplement that may also have some extracurricular effects with feelings of fullness and a reduction in fat absorption.
According to a study published in Appetite in 2011, soluble fiber dextrin increased participants' sense of satiety and decreased the amount of energy absorbed from the next meal. How that finding translates to a dextrin-charged soda is up for discussion.
Pepsi Special will get a nationwide release in Japan on November 13, and it's unlikely to be a big hit with the Sumo community. The advertising materials promise it will have a crisp and refreshing Pepsi flavor that hides the fibery aspects of the drink. There is no mention yet of how many calories it contains. A bottle will sell for just under $2.
Government-approved fat-blocking sodas are a recent development in Japan. Another dextrin soda called Kirin Mets Cola came out earlier this year after receiving clearance from the Japan Health Food & Nutrition Food Association. Pepsi Special has attained the same official "Foods for Specified Health Uses" designation. I guess that means soda pop can qualify as a health food.
Japan's reputation as country of thin people makes it a curious choice for an anti-fat-absorption drink, but perhaps it's just a test run before reaching out to the soda-slurping American market. Of course, we can't help but wonder: what would Michael Bloomberg say?